VESSEL REVIEW | Barcoo – Versatile response boat for Great Barrier Reef patrols

Photo: Norman R. Wright and Sons
Photo: Norman R. Wright and Sons

Australian boatbuilder Norman R. Wright and Sons (NRW) has handed over a new patrol vessel to the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) for operations in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

Barcoo utilises a proven NRW patrol boat hull design that also features modifications that enable it to meet the exacting and unique requirements of the Reef Joint Field Management Program. It is a multi-purpose platform designed to provide a reliable, safe and seaworthy vessel able to operate for extended periods in Queensland waters, including remote, offshore and tropical locations, and in extreme weather and sea conditions.

<em>Photo: Norman R. Wright and Sons</em>
Photo: Norman R. Wright and Sons

NRW said the design was tested extensively with CFD and built with an advanced composite structure. Apart from the highly efficient hull form, the vessel provides extensive advantages over typical aluminium-hulled, rigid inflatable boats (RIBs). These include a lighter weight, greater fuel efficiency, greater space utilisation, significantly reduced maintenance requirements, and a hard collar fender that allows for greater vessel moulded beam and accommodation spaces, and reduce maintenance, compared with inflatable fenders.

The vessel has a length of 11.94 metres, a moulded beam of 3.74 metres, a hull draught of 0.62 metres, and a crew of two. Two Yamaha XTO outboard engines that each produce 316 kW deliver a top speed of over 38 knots while a service speed of 25 knots will yield a range of 350 nautical miles.

<em>Photo: Norman R. Wright and Sons</em>
Photo: Norman R. Wright and Sons

The vessel is kitted out with a variety of specialist equipment including a gyrostabiliser, a custom davit and launch system for a three-metre outboard tender RIB, transom gates, a Raymarine radar, a Teledyne FLIR rotating thermal camera, and solar panels. Power for the onboard systems is supplied by a Cummins Onan 7kW diesel generator.

The safety handrails are placed on the wheelhouse exterior to permit safe passage on the outer deck. These also serve as secondary boarding rails in addition to those on the bow to allow transfers to and from other vessels via other areas on the deck.

The air-conditioned accommodation spaces include a galley, a fully enclosed toilet with shower, and two berths. Provisions will enable the crew to stay out at sea for up to seven days, allowing the conduct of sustained patrols and other activities as part of the DES' reef preservation efforts.

Barcoo was designed and built in compliance to DNV class rules and AMSA DCV 2C survey requirements.

<em>Photo: Norman R. Wright and Sons</em>
Photo: Norman R. Wright and Sons
Type of vessel:Patrol vessel
Classification:DNV; AMSA DCV 2C
Owner:Queensland Department of Environment and Science, Australia
Operator:Reef Joint Field Management Program, Australia
Builder:Norman R. Wright and Sons, Australia
Length overall:11.94 metres
Beam:3.74 metres
Draught:0.62 metres
Main engines:2 x Yamaha XTO outboards, each 316 kW
Generator:Cummins Onan, 7.0 kW
Maximum speed:38 knots
Cruising speed:25 knots
Range:350 nautical miles
Night vision:Teledyne FLIR
Other electronics:Sailor
Other equipment installed:Solar panels
Type of fuel:Diesel
Accommodation:Galley; toilet; berths
Operational area:Great Barrier Reef

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